Bilingual school: what can my child expect?

A bilingual school is a real alternative to regular schools. Here the lessons are bilingual and your child learns how to use a foreign language confidently. Would you like to find out more about the bilingual school and find out whether it is suitable for your child? We will help you here.

What is a bilingual school?

The bilingual school enables children to learn a foreign language in a much more intensive way than is possible in a mainstream school. Because in a school with a bilingual orientation, the lessons are partly held in a foreign language. Depending on the school, this can be, for example, English, French, Italian, Spanish or Dutch. A bilingual school can be a Gymnasium , a comprehensive school or a Realschule . However, primary schools are also increasingly offering bilingual instruction. Bilingual schools are often private schools , where tuition fees may apply. It is best to find out from the school itself whether and to what extent costs will be charged.

What is the teaching like at a bilingual school?

Some of the teaching at a bilingual school is bilingual: Subjects such as geography, biology or history are taught in the foreign language, while the remaining subjects continue to be taught in German. In foreign language classes, the foreign language should become the working language, which means that it should not only be used by the teachers, but also by the students.

Depending on the federal state, there are separate teaching requirements for bilingual schools. They differ in terms of which subjects are taught in the foreign language, how intensively the use of the foreign language is encouraged and from which grade onwards bilingual instruction is introduced. In secondary schools, bilingual instruction is often offered from the seventh grade. The number of lessons given in the foreign language can increase over time. Bilingual schools often maintain international school partnerships and offer student exchange programs and internships abroad.

Bilingual school: Are foreign language skills necessary?

Depending on the school , your child may have to take a language test before enrolling at a bilingual school or before bilingual classes are introduced. However, most primary schools do not require prior knowledge of the foreign language. The students there learn the new language through a method of foreign language early education, the so-called “ immersion”, which comes closest to the child’s language acquisition. The teacher holds the lesson in the foreign language while the students “immerse themselves” in the new language and learn it more or less on the side. In order for factual topics to be understandable, the teacher has to work primarily with gestures and facial expressions. Pictures, songs or films are also often used to familiarize the students with the foreign language.

What are the goals of the bilingual school?

In the bilingual school, pupils should above all acquire higher language skills than in regular schools. The students should be able to understand and present themselves in the foreign language, in particular, subject-related issues, for example in the fields of politics, economics or the natural sciences.

Through the foreign language-led lessons, the students also acquire intercultural skills, which means that they are able to take the perspective of the country of the foreign language in question. This increases the students’ understanding of the foreign and their own culture, so that language barriers can be more easily anticipated and thus broken down.

Reasons for a bilingual school

Many parents expect a successful future for their child from a bilingual school, as knowledge of foreign languages ​​is becoming increasingly important with globalization. Having a good command of a foreign language can increase career opportunities and facilitate social contacts. Proximity to a neighboring country or bilingualism within the family can also be reasons for choosing a bilingual school. It is important that your child feels comfortable in the school and is not overwhelmed by the foreign language lessons .

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